8 No-Nonsense B2B Sales Call Tips
Nurture Customer Relationships
Read on for some common sense B2B sales tips, whether it’s a field sales visit, or a cold call. Discover why it is essential to be proactive, what kind of questions to ask and why information-gathering matters.
Get past those overflowing in boxes and ad-blocks online, reinforce your inbound marketing with a simple sales call, a promotional item or an eye-catching note in the post.
It doesn’t have to be a call, Especially if you are short of staff. Create a direct mail campaign or simple greeting card, flyer drop of a postcard in the post. Just keep in touch with your customers.
Here’s some food for thought…
1. Why You Can’t Rely Exclusively On Inbound Calls
Are you relying on inbound calls alone? Not necessarily a bad complaint in the long term this approach has its flaws.
Knowing what you want to say, and your customer profile in advance will help you craft a more strategic and coherent message.
You are not always prepared for inbound calls and this may mean lost potential. For example
- you have no idea when you are going to receive these calls,
- who it is you are talking to,
- what type of business they are or
- what potential business is in store for you.
Making active outbound sales calls and sending out timely information to prospects, are key activities for any inside sales team An active schedule of outbound calls can be so important to your business because:
- It can help you get a clearer understanding of your local market.
- It can help you build a strong strategic sales pipeline and find new customers if scheduled regularly.
- If you are close to your customers through regular contact, they should remain loyal to you.
- Knowledge is key, talking to your customers is how you build knowledge about them in the first place
- Sometimes the best accounts will not walk in off the street if you don’t get proactive.
2. Cold Calls Don’t Have To Be Cold. It Takes Empathy.
Think of cold calling as a way of meeting prospects you have not met yet. A little bit of empathy and authenticity goes a long way.
Cold Calling can be a win-win
- Think of it as information gathering, a discovery process, market research even. Learn something about your target segment and your business. This is a basic fact find to see if you and this stranger on the other side of the call could be a good business fit.
- Use ‘cold’ calls to reach prospects who have slipped through your advertising and marketing net. Introduce your products and services to them. Add them to your subscriber list.
- Use it to gather as much information as possible about a new business you’ve not approached before and if necessary, strike them off your local marketing list
- Even when rejected, they may tell you why they don’t need you, and that is valuable market research too.
3. Sales Information To Harvest Before and During Sales Calls
Knowledge is power
- Who is their target audience,
- What are they selling,
- How do they promote their business?
- Who is the gatekeeper? Who is the decision maker
Knowing the end-user will build empathy and direct you to discuss services and pricing that’s more pertinent to their needs.
Knowing what they are selling, will help you follow-up with the correct bundle of products, services and solutions that you should offer.
Knowing how they promote their business will reveal the right trade marketing assistance and Sales collateral they will need from you
There are literally thousands upon thousands of these calls made to businesses every day. But not all get their immediate success or even past the ‘gate-keeper’.
4. Adjust Sales Calls to Your Customers’ Profile
Questions to Ask Yourself Prior to making a Sales Call
- Do they currently use another supplier of your service/ product?
- Who is responsible for growing the business? (Usually sales manager).
- How do they get new business, could they benefit from a promotional gift or field sales call?
- How many relevant people do they have?
- How do they create business – Can you help them with trade-marketing?
- Do they have sales conferences you can attend and meet them at?
- What about trade exhibitions?
This helps you build a customer profile and adjust future sales calls, promotions and communications to their needs.
You could then offer the opportunity for a visit by your sales representative or ask is there anything you could help them with now.
5. A Handy Telesales Script for Cold-Calling
- ‘Hello, my name is James from (name of your business); I’m looking for the name of the person responsible for your(insert your product/service) requirements please.’
- ‘Hi John, I haven’t got you at a bad time have I?
- ‘The reason for the call John is to discuss the possibilities of your company (use their name) and (Insert your Company name) doing some business together.’
- Pause and wait for the answer. If they agree let them know how long you will keep them on the call.
- ‘Thank you, I just have 6 or 7 questions I would like to ask and I hope only to be 4 or 5 minutes if that’s ok?’
(Wait for acceptance)
- Could I firstly ask what your role is within the company?
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your product offering/service? (If you are not sure at this stage)
- How do you promote your business?
- Do you currently use a specific supplier of (insert your product or service ) and why so?
- Is there an opportunity for us to quote on anything at the moment or some time soon?
- And finally would you know much about us (insert your company)?
Depending on the answers you now have an opportunity to arrange for a person to call in for a more in-depth discussion on how you are in a position to help with their needs, arrange for a rep to visit or continue with the call there and then.
If you get to ask all 7 questions and you decide it’s best to continue the conversation do so.
If the answer to the last question ‘And finally would you know much about (name of your business)’? is – ‘I know a bit or I’m not sure’, you are now invited to discuss more giving you the opportunity to talk about your features and benefits.
6. When to Use Open and Closed Questions with Customers
When to Use Open Questions
Open questions are a good tool, when making an initial phone call/sales call to introduce your business. It is important to use as many open questions to probe the prospect about your business. Open ended questions invite the prospect to talk freely about what they do allowing you to take notes –
Who, When, Where, What, How?
- What are your criteria for choosing a printer?
- How do you rank the criteria?
- What is your business?
- What differentiates you from your competitor?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who is involved in the decision making process?
When to Use Closed Questions
Closed questions are relevant when you are making an offer, getting hard data and closing with a call-to-action. A Yes/No or a specific answer helps you get to the next step.
Do, Does, Will, Shall, Would?
- Do you look after marketing as well as ordering (insert product)?
- Do you have any work in the pipeline?
- Would you prefer colour or black & white (insert your own options)?
- Will you want Qty X or Qty Y?
- Shall I proceed with the order?
- Would you like a Sales Call or Demo?
7. Call-to-Action Tips When Closing a Call
As in every other marketing activity – be sure to close with an agreed call to action. Close of with activity you can do next to follow up on this relationships .
Close off with a clear idea fo what you will do next. A clear follow-up activity.
Some ways you can close off:
- Is there anything I could be helping you with in the near future?
- Is there anyone else in your organisation who would benefit from our services
- Is there a specific project in the year you may need a competitive quote for ?
- Is there any current project you might need advice on, we can offer a no fee consultation?
- Would you like us to call in and show some work we have done previously for some of my other customers?
8. How To Detect Customer Buying Signals
Look out for buying signals in your conversation that indicate customer engagement. This is how you know, it was a worthwhile activity.
- That’s interesting; I never knew you were that big of a company,
- Do you do…..?
- When did you get into promotions?
- What do you mean by…?
- How does (insert your product/service) work?
- What is the process; when you say one stop shop do you also…?
- Are you guys not expensive though?
- Who in my business have you done work for?
- How would you go about…?
Regardless of what business you may be in, keeping strong customer relationships is a key activity for any sales team. Nurturing existing clients and locating new ones is your most effective route to a steady sales pipeline.
It all begins with making the first contact.
Inbound marketing and the ever-increasing digital toolbox can deliver much in terms of lead generation.
Once the first contact is established, a human conversation still goes a long way to keeping the interaction constant and increasing your understanding of your customers’ needs.
Even new customers and lapsed customers deserve regular human contact. A human touch.
Make personal contact part of your sales repertoire. Get past those overflowing in boxes and ad-blocks online, reinforce your inbound marketing with a simple sales call.
We always assume everyone is aware of what we have to offer.
‘Let me take a moment to tell you a little bit about us.’
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- Marketing material and campaigns.
- Graphic design, from sales brochures to company annual reports.
- Point of sale material, window displays, posters, etc.
- Hundreds of promotional products.
- Direct mail services.
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